Back in June, Jim Kibler completed a rifle that showed up here on the Contemporary Makers site and precipitated the usual complimentary discussion on ALR.
Jim Kibler rifle on the blog can be seen here.
I mentioned at the time that I wanted to build a “copy of a Kibler” and said this;
"I can't add any more accolades to what the others have written. There are many, in fact most, original rifles that I appreciate greatly for what they are and for who made them, but they almost always leave my artistic eye, what I have of one, a little... flat...for want of a better term. There are many elements of any given rifle that I like, but there are almost no rifles that I can look at and say, wow, there is a rifle that I like everything about, the architecture, the engraving, the carving...everything. And, unfortunately for my own building attempts, I can't explain it. It's a lot like to trying to explain to someone why you think a woman is pretty. There are the obvious attributes, but the undefinable subtleties are often the most important. While there are many builders who like to make bench copies of originals, I would like to make, insofar as my talent would allow, a bench copy of a Kibler...and this one is a great candidate....As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
So, in late August and I began gathering the required parts to attempt a copy….54 caliber, 44 inch, Rice barrel, excellent stock blank from Dunlap, Chamber English lock, TG, BP, RR pipes. I had Dave Rase inlet the barrel for me...wonderful job...saved me a bunch of time (and he works too cheap for his own good).
I didn’t use the engraving pattern on the lock that Jim used on his rifle but used one from another Kibler rifle that I preferred. In addition, I decided to use an unusual material for the sights and made them out of a meteor. The iron used to make these sights came from the far reaches of the galaxy. It traveled to earth over millions of years. It may have been traveling through the void since the moment of creation, slowly cooling on its journey to fall on what would become the United States. It landed about 50,000 years ago in Canyon Diablo in Arizona and this fragment was recovered in 1891. It came into my hands, when I was a boy, from a meteor laboratory and I have marveled at it all through these many years. I do not know where this fragment of the universe came from. I do not know where it will come to its final end. But for now the ball from this rifle will always be guided to its mark by a piece of a star.
The raw material and the finished sights.
Copy and photos supplied by David Crisalli.